BCIT’s Safer Walk is available but underutilized

BCIT urges students to use Safer Walk or walk with friends in the dark hours. Photo by Ben Hilborn.

BCIT urges students to use Safer Walk or walk with friends in the dark hours. Photo by Ben Hilborn.

With the recent string of sexual assaults at UBC, university and college campuses in the lower mainland have taken extra security measures to make sure their staff and students are safe at all times.

The consensus among BCIT students is that they generally feel safe on campus.

“I feel like the attacks that have happened at UBC are secluded to that area and I don’t feel affected by it. What’s happening there isn’t happening here and I’m not too worried,” said BCIT student Riley York.

Adrian Hingston, BCIT’s Assistant Director of Safety Security and Emergency Management says that all campuses have been informed about the incidents at UBC. Security has been asked to be more diligent and to step up patrol in areas where public safety is of concern.

The institution offers a Safer Walk Program, where either security or bike patrol will escort students and staff, typically on campus or to bus stops just off campus grounds. Safer Walk personnel carry radios with them to dispatch for help if necessary.

“It’s available and as far as I’m concerned, it’s under-utilized,” said Hingston. “It’s a great service and it would be nice if more people used it – specifically those who are here after hours, and on weekends or those who live on campus.”

Hingston told The Link in an interview that the main reason for Safer Walk is to provide a sense of safety when there are less people on campus.  He says the aim is to offer piece of mind and to urge people to think about their own personal safety, whether it’s to be aware of their surroundings or to not walk alone.

In the last two years, the request for Safer Walk calls have averaged from one to 26 calls a month. Hingston says there hasn’t been any increase in calls since the UBC attacks.

Maninder Bal is another student who sometimes stays late on campus, said she has yet to use Safer Walk but knowing the services are available any time offers a sense of comfort.

Safer Walk is available 24 hours a day at all BCIT campuses with the exception of the Marine Way campus, which shuts down at night.

Students can access more information through the school website or call security at 604-451-6856.